Motorists and passengers in Umuahia, Abia State are experiencing tough times since Friday, caused by scarcity of petroleum products in the capital city.
The scarcity, which started from evening of Thursday, worsened up on Saturday evening when News Echo visited petrol stations around the city.
Most petrol stations on town displayed “NO FUEL” signs in front of their premises, with no further explanation from workers in their premises.
A few stations owned by members of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) that opened, sold Petrol Motor Spirit (PMS) popular known as Fuel at N195, N200 and N220 respectively.
In all the stations visited, non was dispensing Kerosene.
At major marketing outlets in Umuahia like Oando, Total, Mobil, Forte Oil , except one Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stations, there were no services as only vehicle lubricants were displayed for sale.
Long queues were seen at the few stations that opened for business, even as some vehicles were abandoned along the roads by owners who could not get fuel.
Road-side retailers, known as ‘black market’ capitalised on the situation to sell at N210 and N240 respectively, even though there was no total assurance on the quality petrol they sold.
The situation led to slight increase in transport fares as transporters transferred the burden to passengers as travellers to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ohafia, Arochukwu, Umunneochi among others paid more.
Short distance services inside the town by Keke Napep riders which went for N50 also upped by 100%.
Some vehicle owners who spoke to News Echo on their frustration, accused the petrol marketers of deliberately hoarding the products for selfish reasons, even while some others blamed the federal government for causing instability in petroleum industry with statements concerning increase in price.
Yet, some transporters claimed that some filling stations allegedly kept their commodities under their tanks in the day but sold them at night, at above approved pump price.
Gates to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) at BCA was still locked from behind Saturday when News Echo visited but a security man on duty told the reporter to come back later as his master was not in the office.
No official reason has so far been given for the scarcity of petroleum by either the major marketers or the independent marketers.